12 episodes

Believe Her is true crime, upside down. In September 2017, young mom Nikki Addimando shot and killed her partner, Chris Grover. She was sentenced to nineteen years to life in prison for murder. Through rare access to police audio, a month-long trial, conversations with Nikki, and original reporting, journalist Justine van der Leun lays out the killing, the evidence, and the aftermath. As this six-part series unfolds, listeners will put together different pieces of a disturbing puzzle. One thing is clear: perception ≠ reality. Believe Her is a riveting chronicle that grapples with assumptions we make about domestic and sexual violence, the long reach of trauma, and the ways in which survival is criminalized, leaving us shocked at how far people will go to avoid seeing what's right in front of them. From Lemonada Media and Spiegel & Grau.

Believe Her Lemonada Media

    • True Crime
    • 4.5 • 939 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Believe Her is true crime, upside down. In September 2017, young mom Nikki Addimando shot and killed her partner, Chris Grover. She was sentenced to nineteen years to life in prison for murder. Through rare access to police audio, a month-long trial, conversations with Nikki, and original reporting, journalist Justine van der Leun lays out the killing, the evidence, and the aftermath. As this six-part series unfolds, listeners will put together different pieces of a disturbing puzzle. One thing is clear: perception ≠ reality. Believe Her is a riveting chronicle that grapples with assumptions we make about domestic and sexual violence, the long reach of trauma, and the ways in which survival is criminalized, leaving us shocked at how far people will go to avoid seeing what's right in front of them. From Lemonada Media and Spiegel & Grau.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Chapter 6: Criminalized Survival

    Chapter 6: Criminalized Survival

    In the final episode of Believe Her, Nikki reflects on the shocking outcome of her appeal and what this means for others in similar situations going forward. Justine talks to criminalized survivors across the U.S. about how and why they were incarcerated for their attempts to protect themselves or loved ones from abuse.

     

    Resources:
    For more information about Nikki’s case and to sign a petition supporting her clemency application, follow the We Stand With Nikki campaign on Instagram at @westandwithnikki, on Twitter at @standwithnikki and on their webpage at www.westandwithnikki.com.
    If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
    If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
    Ask Governor Kathy Hochul to grant Nikki clemency: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdcpFz75UUqWr5JUtd5H_CrwbGk1F0ThenVbufgdg5jJPNtxw/viewform?fbclid=IwAR0Fx-dDbJO3Wvz25kJ2q334hKffYojaIxZeFJBQRnVuWdcO1RDCGH4pDbw
    Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
    Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA. 
    Learn more about criminalized survival across the U.S. at https://survivedandpunished.org/.
    Read Justine’s Dec. 2020 article on criminalized survival in the U.S. at https://newrepublic.com/article/160589/women-prison-domestic-violence-survivors.
    Support incarcerated survivor Tanisha Williams by visiting https://standwithtanisha.com/.
    Support incarcerated survivor Tomiekia Johnson by visiting https://www.change.org/p/gavin-newsom-grant-commutation-for-incarcerated-survivor-tomiekia-johnson.
    Read Sandra Brown’s writing by visiting https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004441651/BP000023.xml.
    Learn more about incarcerated survivor Kelly Harnett’s story at https://www.survivedandpunishedny.org/kelly-harnett/.

     

    Justine van der Leun is the host and lead reporter. This series is produced by Justine van der Leun and supervising producer Kristen Lepore. The associate producer is Giulia Hjort. The production assistant is Rory James Leech. Additional reporting by Kristen Lepore and Giulia Hjort. Mixing and sound design by Kegan Zema. Music by RRA aka Sara Abdelaal. Fact checking by Justin Kloczko. Additional audio engineering by Ivan Kuraev. Story editing by Jackie Danziger. Story consulting by Amy Metsch. The executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Spiegel & Grau.

     

    Believe Her is created in partnership with Spiegel & Grau. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @spiegelandgrau.

    Follow Justine on Twitter at @justinevdl and on Instagram at @jvanderleun.

    Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

    If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Believe Her podcast community on Bookclubz at www.bit.ly/believeherbookclubz and our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/believeher/. 

     

    Interested in bonus content and behind the scenes material? Subscribe to Lemonada Premium right now in the Apple Podcasts app by clicking on our podcast logo and the "subscribe” button.

     

    Stay up-to-date on everything in the Lemonada world by becoming a superfan at https://joinsubtext.com/lemonadasuperfan.  

    Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and all other Lemonada series: lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.

    To follow along with a transcript, go to www.lemonadamedia.com/show/believeher shortly after the air date.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 41 min
    BONUS: Criminalized Survivor Monica Cosby on the Criminal Legal System

    BONUS: Criminalized Survivor Monica Cosby on the Criminal Legal System

    Host Justine van der Leun sits down with Monica Cosby, a writer, abolitionist, and criminalized survivor who spent 20 years in prison. This conversation has been edited for time and clarity.

    Chapter 5: The Missing Evidence

    Chapter 5: The Missing Evidence

    A 12-person jury convicted Nikki of murder, but they didn’t see the whole picture. Many key pieces of this puzzle didn’t make their way into the courtroom. In this episode, Justine follows up on disturbing gaps in the evidence. Through conversations with Nikki’s lawyers, digital forensic experts, Nikki’s therapists and Nikki’s children’s therapist, Justine explores what was not shown at trial. 

     

    Resources:
    If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
    If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
    Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent. 
    Learn more about criminalized survival in New York State at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
    Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA. 
    Read Justine’s May 2020 investigative piece on Nikki’s case at www.gen.medium.com/nikki-had-proof-shed-been-abused-but-was-it-enough-for-self-defense-bd9f196396eb. 
    Follow the We Stand With Nikki campaign on Instagram at @westandwithnikki, on Twitter at @standwithnikki and on their webpage at www.westandwithnikki.com.

     

    Justine van der Leun is the host and lead reporter. This series is produced by Justine van der Leun and supervising producer Kristen Lepore. The associate producer is Giulia Hjort. The production assistant is Rory James Leech. Additional reporting by Kristen Lepore and Giulia Hjort. Mixing and sound design by Kegan Zema. Music by RRA aka Sara Abdelaal. Fact checking by Justin Kloczko. Additional audio engineering by Ivan Kuraev. Story editing by Jackie Danziger. Story consulting by Amy Metsch. The executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Spiegel & Grau.

     

    Believe Her is created in partnership with Spiegel & Grau. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @spiegelandgrau.

    Follow Justine on Twitter at @justinevdl and on Instagram at @jvanderleun.

    Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

    If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Believe Her podcast community on Bookclubz at www.bit.ly/believeherbookclubz and our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/believeher/. 

     

    Interested in bonus content and behind the scenes material? Subscribe to Lemonada Premium right now in the Apple Podcasts app by clicking on our podcast logo and the "subscribe” button.

     

    Stay up-to-date on everything in the Lemonada world by becoming a superfan at https://joinsubtext.com/lemonadasuperfan.  

    Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and all other Lemonada series: lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.

    To follow along with a transcript, go to www.lemonadamedia.com/show/believeher shortly after the air date.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 49 min
    Chapter 4: Victim or Master Manipulator?

    Chapter 4: Victim or Master Manipulator?

    Is Nikki a victim or is she a master manipulator who planned and plotted Chris’ murder? This question was at the heart of Nikki’s trial. There, the defense team put forth a cache of evidence of abuse. But the prosecution suggested that Nikki wanted attention, tried to destroy her credibility and asked: if the abuse was so bad, why didn’t Nikki leave? Justine unpacks the trial, and what the verdict says about how our criminal legal system views self-defense laws when it comes to people in abusive relationships.

     

    Resources:
    If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
    If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
    Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
    Learn more about criminalized survival in New York State at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
    Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA. 
    Read Justine’s May 2020 investigative piece on Nikki’s case at www.gen.medium.com/nikki-had-proof-shed-been-abused-but-was-it-enough-for-self-defense-bd9f196396eb. 
    Follow the We Stand With Nikki campaign on Instagram at @westandwithnikki, on Twitter at @standwithnikki and on their webpage at www.westandwithnikki.com.

     

    Justine van der Leun is the host and lead reporter. This series is produced by Justine van der Leun and supervising producer Kristen Lepore. The associate producer is Giulia Hjort. The production assistant is Rory James Leech. Additional reporting by Kristen Lepore and Giulia Hjort. Mixing and sound design by Kegan Zema. Music by RRA aka Sara Abdelaal. Fact checking by Justin Kloczko. Additional audio engineering by Ivan Kuraev. Story editing by Jackie Danziger. Story consulting by Amy Metsch. The executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Spiegel & Grau.

     

    Believe Her is created in partnership with Spiegel & Grau. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @spiegelandgrau.

    Follow Justine on Twitter at @justinevdl and on Instagram at @jvanderleun.

    Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

    If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Believe Her podcast community on Bookclubz at www.bit.ly/believeherbookclubz and our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/believeher/. 

     

    Interested in bonus content and behind the scenes material? Subscribe to Lemonada Premium right now in the Apple Podcasts app by clicking on our podcast logo and the "subscribe” button.

     

    Stay up-to-date on everything in the Lemonada world by becoming a superfan at https://joinsubtext.com/lemonadasuperfan.  

    Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and all other Lemonada series: lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.

    To follow along with a transcript, go to www.lemonadamedia.com/show/believeher shortly after the air date.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 55 min
    BONUS: We Talk to a Former Mr. Todd’s Coach about Reactions to Chris’ Death

    BONUS: We Talk to a Former Mr. Todd’s Coach about Reactions to Chris’ Death

    Producer Giulia Hjort talks with LizaBeth Madara, the former Mr. Todd’s Gymnastics coach who made the call to CPS, about the community’s response to Chris’ death. This conversation has been edited for time and clarity.

    Chapter 3: The Silencing

    Chapter 3: The Silencing

    Nikki was abused, doubted and silenced from a young age — and yet, there were still too many so-called “bad facts” that helped the prosecution build their case against her. This week, Justine talks to one of Nikki’s childhood friends about witnessing the early abuse and the cycle of trauma that followed. 

     

    Resources:
    If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
    If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
    Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
    Learn more about criminalized survival in New York State at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
    Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA. 
    Read Justine’s May 2020 investigative piece on Nikki’s case at www.gen.medium.com/nikki-had-proof-shed-been-abused-but-was-it-enough-for-self-defense-bd9f196396eb.  
    Follow the We Stand With Nikki campaign on Instagram at @westandwithnikki, on Twitter at @standwithnikki and on their webpage at www.westandwithnikki.com.

     

    Justine van der Leun is the host and lead reporter. This series is produced by Justine van der Leun and supervising producer Kristen Lepore. The associate producer is Giulia Hjort. The production assistant is Rory James Leech. Additional reporting by Kristen Lepore and Giulia Hjort. Mixing and sound design by Kegan Zema. Music by RRA aka Sara Abdelaal. Fact checking by Justin Kloczko. Additional audio engineering by Ivan Kuraev. Story editing by Jackie Danziger. Story consulting by Amy Metsch. The executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Spiegel & Grau.

     

    Believe Her is created in partnership with Spiegel & Grau. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @spiegelandgrau.

    Follow Justine on Twitter at @justinevdl and on Instagram at @jvanderleun.

    Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

    If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Believe Her podcast community on Bookclubz at www.bit.ly/believeherbookclubz and our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/believeher/. 

    Interested in bonus content and behind the scenes material? Subscribe to Lemonada Premium right now in the Apple Podcasts app by clicking on our podcast logo and the "subscribe” button.

    Stay up-to-date on everything in the Lemonada world by becoming a superfan at https://joinsubtext.com/lemonadasuperfan.  

    Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and all other Lemonada series: lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.

    To follow along with a transcript, go to www.lemonadamedia.com/show/believeher shortly after the air date.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
939 Ratings

939 Ratings

Bluefairy9 ,

Modern Day Witch Trials, Misogyny & the Patriarchal Judicial System

It’s abundantly clear that the “criminal” justice system was not ever intended to recognize the humanity or personhood of women or children and this is never so crystal clear as when the subjects of abuse and sex combine with questions of self defense and agency.

When surviving the trauma and brutality of crimes such as rape, physical violence, and psychological abuse means public shaming by trial and the death of the perpetrator is portrayed as murder, the heroic survival of the victim dooms them to a catch-22. As they are not dead and survived they are not seen as the victim regardless of the fact that had they not reacted with their survival instinct of fight, they probably would be dead.

This is our modern day witch trial. It’s the woman who drowns who proves that she is not a witch. Our misogynistic puritanical cultural background and the way it has shaped our attitude towards anything sexual or the way victims should show up leaves women and vulnerable people in an impossible situation where to be believed means being the right sort of person and proving their victim hood by dying or being nearly dead. It’s a message saying that if you fight back you better get ready to be punished for your audacity to stay alive.

@mcglynnfarm ,

Free Nikki

That is all

jleuschke ,

A must listen

This is the best podcast of 2021. It’s an incredibly disturbing story of how victims are criminalized for defending themselves. The legal system needs to change and Nikki’s story is the perfect example of why.

Top Podcasts In True Crime

You Might Also Like